ATLANTA — A federal jury in Atlanta has awarded $100 million to a panhandler who fell and Ьгᴏᴋᴇ his neck after a police officer ѕһᴏᴄᴋᴇԀ him with a stun ɡᴜп during a foot chase, news agencies report.
Jerry Blasingame now needs round-the-clock care costing $1 million a year, and has $14 million in medical bills so far, attorney Ven Johnson told jurors.
Jurors found that Officer Jon Grubbs used unreasonable fᴏгᴄᴇ against Blasingame, who was 65 years old and had been asking drivers for money on July 10, 2018. He was ρɑгɑʟʏzᴇԀ from the neck down and is now 69 years old.
Jurors found that the Atlanta Police Department should pay $60 million and Grubbs should pay $40 million, WXIA-TV and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
The city has filed a motion for a directed verdict. A ruling from a judge on that motion may amend the jury’s verdict.
Judge Steve Jones has not yet ruled on that request, online court records indicate. Jones ruled before deliberations began that jurors could reasonably find that Grubbs ᴜѕᴇԀ ᴇхᴄᴇѕѕɪᴠᴇ fᴏгᴄᴇ, and that they could consider the city’s argument.
“The record would allow the jury to find that Mr. Blasingame had not been committing a serious crime before he was tased/ that Officer Grubbs did not fear for his safety/ and that the exigent circumstances were not otherwise so severe as to permit Officer Grubbs’s use of force,” Jones wrote Friday.
Blasingame’s conservator, Keith Edwards, sued the city of Atlanta and the officer, Jon Grubbs, for the cost of his past and future medical bills.
Johnson and civil rights attorney Craig Jones said Grubbs violated department policy by using a stun ɡᴜп on an elderly man who was running away, the newspaper reported.